Some restaurant owners say they may not survive without extension of federal rent subsidy program

TRATTORIA LA VILLETTA

The federal government’s rent subsidy program for small businesses came to an end Monday without a concrete commitment that it would be extended this month. That has some restaurant owners worried they may close without that help.

"It's been very tough," said John Insogna, whose restaurant Trattoria La Villetta in St. Laurent has been in the family for nearly 30 years. Without that rent subsidy,

"I won't last another two months, there's no way."

Insogna said they can't survive on take-out and a 50% dining room capacity.

"This is something the government would need to commit to for at least six months or a longer period of time to give us some kind of assurance we can recuperate for this because as far as we see now, the pandemic is here to stay for at least awhile," said Insogna who reached out to yourstory@cjad.com

"Just to cut it off completely just makes no sense."

Insogna said news about the subsidy ending without word about an extension couldn't come at a worse time.

"You're looking at the worst months for restaurants (...) coming up which is Christmas. So there's no more Christmas parties  -  that is where the restaurants make their bread and butter, that's the gravy of the whole year - so you're taking that away from them and that's when you're going to go ahead and cut the rent subsidy?" said Insogna.

Industry advocacy group Restaurants Canada said they're hearing the same concerns from some of their members.

"We think it should be renewed for a least a few months," said Lefebvre in an interview with CJAD 800.

Lefebvre said they've been working with the federal government for an extension as Ottawa may be trying to tweak the program to make it accessible to more businesses.

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